There’s a new driver in the trend to online shopping – Gauteng gridlock.
Frustration with traffic congestion is contributing to the mounting popularity of pick ‘n click purchasing, says Jerome McClement, Director of PCMall.co.za, one of the market leaders in online shopping.
He points out: “We’re close to industry research and know that convenience and ease of price and feature comparisons across products remain the top reasons for shopping online. But there’s growing anecdotal evidence that frustration with traffic jams in Sandton and other retail nodes is an additional factor.
“Research confirms that online purchasing – even in the technology space – is no longer the preserve of the techie. New growth is driven by ordinary consumers, notably in upper income groups, people eager to embrace the convenience and ease-of–use of online shopping while it also allows them to avoid downtime in traffic.”
Gauteng has 2,9-million vehicles, or 383.9 for every kilometre of the province’s 7 538km road network – creating potential for seasonal gridlock in and around major retail centres.
PCMall.co.za says the level of first-time buyers continues to rise as online retailing catches on. This creates a responsibility for industry leaders such as PCMall.co.za to explain the ease and convenience of online shopping while improving the security awareness of new site visitors.
McClement explains: “Online shoppers have special reasons for trusting the approach developed by PCMall.co.za. At our online technology superstore, we have addressed security concerns by adopting an account-based system so consumers do not have to re-enter personal information every time a transaction is concluded, only credit card details. Furthermore, our site has all the recommended security features and quality seals.
“More and more people are moving to broadband and exploring the Net. The real excitement comes when you move from browsing to buying. Only then do you begin to unlock the wider potential of broadband access.
Suddenly, you can enjoy all the benefits of exceptional choice, the safety of shopping from your own home and the convenience of being a click away from viewing and comparing all the items on your wish-list. You can then close the transaction at your own pace without being jostled.”
To foster security consciousness on the Net, PCMall.co.za advises online shoppers to:
* Look out for the ‘quality seals’ that are often displayed on reputable, well-established websites. For example, the ‘HackerSafe’ mark shows that a site has passed the Hacker Safe security scan. A ‘Verisign’ logo indicates a site can secure private information and holds a VeriSign SSL certificate (indicating compliance with the Secure Sockets Layer web security protocol).
* Only give pertinent information – one’s name and credit card number should suffice without adding other personal or bank account details.
* When asked to choose a password, ensure it is at least eight digits long and combines upper and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
* Check that the online retailer has consumer-friendly procedures in place to facilitate the return of goods ordered in error.
McClement adds: “Research shows that most people who have shopped online will do so again. So we know that once newcomers get the hang of it, they’ll be back for more – which suggests that Christmas gridlock at major shopping nodes could unlock a lot of on-going opportunities for leading online retailers that respond to the consumer’s need for security, convenience and a wide choice of quality brands.”